‘Show me the money’: the importance of bottom-line objectives in employer branding
It’s often commented, with great disappointment, that much employer branding focuses primarily on recruitment and the recruitment toolkit. This isn’t because HR don’t get the full extent of what a great employer brand can do – they deserve much more credit than that. My belief is that when it comes to substantiating ‘why we should invest in employer branding’, the bottom-line benefits are easier to define for recruitment. By moving from indirect to direct sourcing, by focusing on something very tangible like the recruitment toolkit (even a new careers website), a business can see clear operational cost savings and build a great business case for spending the money. It’s also something tactile – that an HRD or CEO can see and touch; it’s a product. Now try and show the impact on development, retention, engagement and even recognition. Much more difficult – or at least much more complex in the analysis and stakeholder management required.
Recently we have helped two businesses look into the business case for investing in an employer brand. Time and again, the business and the senior management want to see the very tangible benefits. We can all talk about the impact on employee engagement, the improvement in reputation, the reduction in attrition – and there’s no doubt that it will have an impact, logic tells us so; but there are still too few convincing case studies or metrics to prove it. (Or at least from what I’ve seen.) Still recruitment is a key driver – because it can show the FD’s much-vaunted ‘quick win’; but equally more and more, the EVP is often seen as an anchor that brings so many of the different workstreams together – and in that way when it combines forces with the rest of the HR world, it can provide cohesion, purpose and clarity. In the way, it wraps up the candidate and employee experience.
When you put it like that, it starts to provide additional benefits – because it’s not just another HR programme; it’s actually the one that brings everything together creating one powerful story and maximising the investment across HR.